McKenzie addresses Huberdeau trade rumors

The potential availability of Jonathan Huberdeau has certainly created some buzz on the NHL trade scene in recent days.

Bob McKenzie had a Wednesday evening TV hit on NBCSN.

The Insider was asked during a viewer question segment about whether or not the Panthers were looking to send Huberdeau to the Columbus Blue Jackets - or looking to trade him to anyone - in order to clear cap space for pending unrestricted free agents Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky.

“It’s been interesting. There have been a lot of Jonathan Huberdeau trade rumors,” noted McKenzie. “And a lot of debate - both inside Florida and outside - are they legit or not.

“I believe that Huberdeau has been told by the Panthers, ‘We’re not trying to trade you. We’re not shopping you.’ You never get the full thing where a team says, ‘Under no circumstances will we ever trade you,’ because you know sometimes it just needs to happen. But I think he’s been assured in the short term anyways.

“Listen, the Florida Panthers - they would like to get Panarin and they would like to get Bobrovsky. But they don’t want to give up assets as valuable as Huberdeau at the deadline to try to do it. These players - Panarin and Bobrovsky - are going to be unrestricted free agents in the summer. That’s the plan is to try and sign them.

“But in order to sign them - because they’re a budget team - they may need to cut some salary. And if they need to cut some salary one of the guys who might be targeted as being expendable to cut that salary would be trading Jonathan Huberdeau, along with Hoffman, who they got from Ottawa.

“Those are two names that we hear out there. Not saying for sure they’re being shopped. Not saying for sure they’re going to be traded. But if they do need to make budgetary cuts to make room for Panarin and Bobrovsky, those two guys are most often focused on as potential.”

Huberdeau is in the second season of a six-year, $35.4 million contract, which carries a $5.9 million cap hit. His no-move clause will also kick in July 1.

Hoffman is in the third season of a four-year, $20.75 million contract, which contains a modified no-trade clause through which he can nix 10 locales.

Contract-related info via CapFriendly